One Day in Old San Juan Itinerary [2024]

Are you spending one day in Old San Juan?

This one-day itinerary will help you plan an epic trip to one of the most beautiful towns in Puerto Rico.  It is jam-packed with some of the best spots in Old San Juan!

The itinerary is split into three sections: morning, afternoon, and evening.  It includes stops for the best food and amazing views!

Old San Juan Morning

Breakfast at Mallorca

Breakfast for one day in Old San Juan

Mallorca is known to be one of the best local panaderias in Old San Juan!

Start your day off right with a casual sit-down breakfast, or grabbing a pastry to go.

Tip: Mallorca is also the name of a traditional sweet bread in Puerto Rico.  I highly recommend trying this before you go!

Castillo San Cristóbal

Castillo San Cristóbal is the first fort you will see when entering the old town.

Entry is $10 for both forts.

Tip: The same ticket can be used to access both forts for 24 hours, or enter both forts free with the America The Beautiful National Parks Pass.

Castillo San Felipe Del Morro

El Morro

More commonly referred to as “El Morro”, exploring Castillo San Felipe is one of the best places to explore in the old town.

It also features some of the best views over the Caribbean!

I loved taking my time walking around and exploring each of the areas of this immaculate fort.

Museo de las Americas

Museo de las Americas during one day in Old San Juan
Museo De las Americas

Museo de Las Americas is a beautiful, free plaza to stroll on the lower level.  The upper level of the museum is paid entry.

Tip: Don Ruiz Coffee is located at the end of the bottom level.  This top coffee spot is highly acclaimed in Puerto Rico and is recommended on Old San Juan food tours!

Old San Juan Afternoon

Snack at Señor Paleta


People rave about the iconic Señor Paleta!  $4 is a bit expensive for a popsicle to me, but it’s a refreshing treat amidst the San Juan heat.

Choose from over 15 flavors.  Some popsicles are milk-based and others are sorbet-based.  You can also add a topping!

Tip: Señor Paletas is located on the way back into the main part of the old town after coming from El Morro and Museo De Las Americas.  It’s a quick pit stop if you choose!

Architecture and Murals

San Juan Murals

Old San Juan is loaded with colorful street art, incredible murals, and historic architecture.  Begin your afternoon in the incredibly colorful town by simply wandering!

Be sure to check out these iconic spots:

  • Flag Door
  • Capilla del Santo Cristo de la Salud

Lunch at Manolin

Mofongo at Manolin

Manolin is a local cafeteria.  Old San Juan is heavily touristed these days, so it’s difficult to find a truly authentic meal (that also fits the bill!)

Manolin is open during breakfast hours as well.

Paseo de La Princesa

Take a quick waterfront stroll!  Cruise ships dock here so it may be crowded.

There are several restaurants, small and bigger shops, and local craft vendors selling products here.

La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza during one day in Old San Juan
La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza is one of the most colorful streets in the old town.  Snap a few photos and enjoy the decorations that change every couple of months.

Sometimes, La Fortaleza features rainbow umbrellas.  During the holiday season, it features beautiful lights.

Old San Juan Evening


Enjoy the home creation of the Piña Colada!  It is said that its birthplace is at Barrachina in Old San Juan.

They can make it with or without alcohol.  I thought it was absolutely delicious!

Grab a savory dinner afterward.  Barrachina has quaint seats in their dining room, terrace-style patio, and at the bar.

La Factoria

Making the list as one of the top 50 bars in the world multiple years in a row, the 5-floor La Factoria comes highly recommended!

I didn’t have time during my visit, but I was stoked to check out the free Salsa lessons two nights per week!

Extra Time

If you have extra time or want to swap out any of the itinerary items, consider some of these stops:

  • Stroll Plaza de Colón and Plaza de Armas
  • Take a 10-minute Uber ride to watch the sunset from Condado Beach
  • Click for more of the best things to do in Old San Juan

Alternative Restaurants

If you’re not a fan of the restaurants on the itinerary, consider these:

Read Next: San Juan on Christmas Day, 4 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary, Cancun to Puerto Morelos

San Juan Planning Details

Getting There

Fly into San Juan’s international airport.  Several cities in the United States offer nonstop flights.

The airport is conveniently located 12 minutes by car from Old San Juan.

Weather in San Juan

Puerto Rico’s tropical climate leads to temperatures in the mid-90s Fahrenheit or a low in the upper 70s Fahrenheit in the evening.

Pockets of brief sun showers (more of a drizzle) throughout the day are common.

One Day in Old San Juan Itinerary

This one day in Old San Juan itinerary is action-packed with some of the best things to do!

It scratches the surface for a great introduction to the old town and the beginning of your Puerto Rico journey!

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As a full time employee who loves her job, learn how I honor my wanderlust while working a 9:00-5:00 (because I want to!) This blog welcomes all, and specifically provides resources for those seeking travel intertwined into a busy schedule (3 days to 5 weeks).